The first annual Global Tourism Resilience Conference (GTRC) concluded in Kingston on Friday February 17th.
At last week’s Global Tourism Resilience Conference, Nicola Madden-Greig, President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), rubs shoulders with (from left) media veteran Peter Greenberg, Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, and former Prime Minister of Jamaica P.J. Patterson.
The world celebrated Global Tourism Resilience Day for the first time on Friday, February 17.
Proclaimed by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, the special day aims to emphasize the need to foster resilient tourism development to deal with shocks, taking into account the vulnerability of the tourism sector to emergencies.
The international day, a successful development initiative by the Government of Jamaica, is also a call for action for member states to develop national strategies for rehabilitation after disruptions, including through private-public cooperation and the diversification of activities and products.
According to the UN, developing countries, including the least developed countries, small island developing states, countries in Africa and middle-income countries, embrace tourism as a major source of income, foreign currency earnings, tax revenue and employment.
Because tourism often connects people with nature, sustainable tourism has the unique ability to spur environmental responsibility and conservation.
“The use of sustainable and resilient tourism as a tool to foster sustained and inclusive economic growth, social development and financial inclusion, enables the formalization of the informal sector, the promotion of domestic resource mobilization and environmental protection and the eradication of poverty and hunger, including the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources and the promotion of investment and entrepreneurship in sustainable tourism,” the UN posits.
The first annual Global Tourism Resilience Conference (GTRC) concluded in Kingston on Friday and was described by Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness as providing “a platform for industry leaders, researchers, policymakers and other stakeholders to develop problem-solving tools to build resilience across countries and regions.”
The three-day conference is being attended by ministers of tourism from several countries and other international industry leaders.
Bartlett Called for Resilience Fund to aid Tourism-Dependent Nations
Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett issued a call for the creation of a global tourism resilience fund to support tourism-dependent nations in periods of disruption.
The call came as key players in tourism from around the world, including the Caribbean and Africa, devoted the third day of the first-ever Global Tourism Resilience Conference to continuing discussions on the: Road to Global Sustainability and Development. Minister Bartlett expressed that “while we talk about building resilience for tourism we have to focus in the wider perspective on social, economic, political, health and security disruptions.”
However, he outlined that the most important of all was building human capacity to “predict, mitigate, manage disruptions when they arise, recover quickly and to thrive thereafter.”
He underscored the need to also build financial resilience while highlighting tourism’s responsibility in enabling highly tourism dependent countries “to be able to gain an insight into their own capacity to grow, to expand and to enjoy prosperity.” To this end, Mr. Bartlett made the call for the establishment of the special tourism resilience fund.
He said “we as an industry have the capacity to enable this fund to happen seamlessly because we are the most consumption-driven activity on planet earth.”
The Minister indicated that one way in which the fund could be financed is through a voluntary Resilience Tip given by the 1.4 billion consuming travellers and “that contribution stays in the recipient countries and build that fund to enable capacity for resilience.”
General Manager for the Caribbean, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Mr. Tariq Ali also underscored the importance of building tourism resilience. He warned that even as tourism was recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: “While we would like to see more economies diversifying, a high-performing tourism sector is needed to see further economic growth and recovery.”
He therefore warned that “we must be cautious while optimistic” as there were still several threats that could undermine achievements made so far.”
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.